The Boeing C-97 was developed after a request by the U.S. Army Air Forces for a transport aircraft based on the B-29. The landing gear wings and tail from the B-29 were adapted for use with a distinctive “double bubble” pressurized fuselage to create the C-97. First flown in 1945, the C-97 proved to be a very successful and versatile aircraft. Boeing modified the design slightly to create their first post-war airliner, the Boeing 377.
Development of an aerial refueling tanker version of the C-97 using the Boeing-designed flying boom refueling equipment began in 1950, with the first KC-97A delivered in 1951. The KC-97G was the most produced tanker version of the Stratofreighter. The most noticeable external difference was the addition of two fixed external fuel tanks to the wings. This and changes to the internal arrangement of fuel tanks allowed the aircraft to serve without modification as both a tanker and a transport.
9th Strategic Aerospace Wing, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
Pima Air & Space Museum
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